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Colsterworth, Jan. 24, 1821. MY DEAR MADAM,
I promised you a letter at parting last, but have been as bold at procrastinating as I could with decency. When I was young, and the spring of my natural spirits unbroken, I was fond of writing, and could often please myself with my pen, if I could not others; but now with whatever importunity the best of friends may urge me for a letter, I can never delight to comply. I think I never feel satisfied with myself, or any of my performances. The force of my infirmities induces a sort of mental sickness, and ever-operating nausea, which renders every created comfort doubly insipid. The beauties of nature used to charm, but the oppression of bodily languor forbids me to contemplate them; and the productions of human art, which ever amuse the curious and inquisitive, soon discover their littleness and vanity when often surveyed; and the shameful abuse of them to the worst of purposes, exceedingly detracts from their worth ; and, like the jewel of gold in the nose of the swine, they are loathsome from the circumstances in which they are placed. Domestic comforts are novel to me, and perhaps on that account the most sweet; but these roses have their thorns; and though they sweetly bloom, they quickly fade; yet home is home, and there is no other such place; so I find mine. And though I am condemned to wander much and often from it, a blessing is in the sentence; nothing but fatigue can cushion my elbow-chair, and as soon as rest intrudes itself into it, I must be off again.
I have drawn a gloomy picture, but I would not fright you, nor lead you to suppose that I am a very unhappy man. I have peculiar comforts and peculiar advantages. “ The house of Israel," saith the Lord, “ are carried by me.” In the care of such a nurse there must be a tenderness of hand, and a soothing hush that can allay the disquietudes and banish the fears of the most fickle and peevish child; so I find it. What though affliction has embittered all the sober satisfactions of life, it has deafened my ears to their pleasing lullabies. And though my spiritless frame makes activity a burden, it is a purge for ambition and covetousness, and compels me rather to sink than soar, and wish for less, with less exertion. Extremes, too, are united in my case; and as my depressions are involuntary and unreasonable, so as unexpectedly am I comforted, the burden falls off without untying, and I only mount and sing. I am timorous as a roe, and fearless as an eagle; can do nothing, and all things, as my Master vouchsafes or withholds his strength.
I hope I may talk of something worth hearing; I learned the words of my Bible several years ago, I am now learning the power and sweetness of them. I am daily at school, but as duncible as a beast. I have but two lessons to learn, though I own they are long ones-myself and God's salvation. And it seems by the conduct of my adorable Tutor, that without severe discipline I shall make no progress whatever; the rod, the dark hole, being kept, and being denied one's regular food, are common circumstances here; but the Master's talents are competent to his task, and his truth has declared, “They shall know the Lord,” and * they shall loathé themselves." I understand by the latter engagement, that he will show them a reason for that loathing; nothing but daily experience of what is in self can bring us to loathing; it is an act of the heart, where all the self-love we have resides. I therefore find that I must be daily bitten and deceived by my wretched heart, to be able to apprehend its mischievous temper. Oh! what a sty of rake-shame swine do I find within! What a dead and putrid carcass do I find my nature ! nothing therein but what is opposition to God and godliness!“How weak is thine heart," saith God; yes, it can do nothing but in the strength of grace; not go, nor stand, nor think, nor desire, as God approves, but in his Spirit's power and enlargement: base and treacherous lusting and fighting against all that is good. Hard and barren as a naked rock, wild as a wilderness, inapt to spiritual godly motion as a mountain, yet active in mischief as a devil. And doth God dwell here? Yes! these views of self are a proof of his presence. Christ, as our life and our light, makes us to feel and see these maladies, and he gets his end by discovering them to us. He makes thus an opportunity to discover himself to advantage. This desperate case wants a remedy, divine, all divine; and here it is, saith the Gospel-the blood of God, the infinite God, to purge thy infinite and horrible sins; and “herein is the love of God, that he sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Love, great and unaccountable, as Jehovah: sovereign, eternal, unasked, and unchanging. This
blood did once atone for every sin—made an end of sin-purged every sin-condemned every sin-took away the ground of every future charge. Death is only the wages of sin; and Christ hath died, and is risen again; death hath no more dominion over him ; death is abolished; the statute of death is repealed by the supreme Judge. God hath justified; nothing but pardon can be awarded, in the court where Christ is Advocate, High Priest, Peace, and Propitiation. It is true we never have a deed done well by us : we are always sinning, even in the best we do, and yet we are righteous. We have done one thing so well, that we shall ever be well in consequence of it; “ We have believed on Christ, that we might be justified by faith." Faith has joined us with Christ, and he is made our righteousness by the best good pleasure of the sovereign Judge; and we are blessed and complete in him ; now complete, and ever complete! God hath blessed us thus; and saith David, “ Thou blessest, and it shall be blessed.” And the case cannot be undone ; no, not by God himself. His will hath sealed it with his oath ; and when we feel the worst of self, it is our blessed privilege to plead that we are saved, and ever saved, not by working or feeling either well or ill, but by believing. Thus doing the Lord's will, increases our faith. Christ, our Vine, is full of the Spirit's sap and life and power, for us; and it is the Spirit's delightful work to testify of Christ, to reveal his precious things to us, to comfort us after all our mournings, to revive us in all our troubles, to enlarge us in our imprisonments, to cause us to pray, and praise, and triumph always in CHRIST. My God, in his blessed leadings, brings me through all these things, and makes me oft-times as high above all sorrow and fear as ever I can be sunk in them.
I wish you, Madam, the comfort of these precious things continually; and hope you will mercifully bear with aught exceptionable in this long epistle. I hope you will find ten minutes' amusement while chicken-bound in the parlour, in raking over such a heap of varying things.-Vol. I. pp. 96-99.
Deal, June 2, 1824. MY DEAR FRIEND,
My infirmities quite imprison me, and my labours oppress me: but every murmur from me is black rebellion. The Lord never fails me in my labours, nor leaves me short of any necessary help; but I cannot do the things that I would, nor anything as I would : this, however, is an old and universal complaint in the church, and soul-health is indicated by it. Paul was nothing, when the greatest apostle, and did nothing, when he laboured more abundantly than all his brethren—and possessed all things, when he had nothing in hand. Faith is the tenor of the wife and the babe, whereby they inherit all things, without the labour of getting, or the care of keeping :-and with an eye to a Husband immutable in love, and unsearchable in riches, it allows not the fear of losing. “ Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb ? Yea, they may forget; yet will I not forget thee, Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands, thy walls are continually before me." That is, "all the sources of thy blessedness, and the securities of thy salvation, are always before mine eyes, and ever present with me."
Nothing is offended in this mode of blessedness, but pride; and that must be mortified for no flesh shall glory, no, not at any time, nor in any measure, nor on any ground. The spirit of the believer makes its boast only in the Lord, in Father, Son, and Spirit. Therefore, not in our faith as great, for we are often filled with fears ;-nor in our love, for we are ashamed of our want of it;—nor in our wisdom, for we are ever being deceived ;-nor in our power, for we cannot think a good thought ;-nor in our obedience, for we “are begging pardon for every hour." In none of these must we glory : on none of them rest, no, not for a moment: but on the absolute perfection of the Lord's salvation in Christ alone, and on his unfailing word of grace, to make us know it, at any time, or in any measure.
Yours in truth, Vol. I. pp. 131, 132.
For the Gospel Magazine. FROM ME IS THY FRUIT FOUND.-Hos. xiv. 3. THERE are not a few among the professed followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, who look to themselves alone for all fruit of every sort ; there are some, also, who seem to be entirely careless about everything of a practical nature, who say that the children of God are always fruitful ; reading the above, as though it was “in me is thy fruit found,” and saying that nothing else is expected. The passage at the head of this piece, contains a reproof to persons of both classes ; and a very precious passage it is; and when applied by the Holy Ghost, it leads the soul to rely entirely upon Jesus, the Tree of Life, for all kinds of fruit. I shall endeavour to show that, in Scripture, there are three kinds of fruits spoken of, and that each of these several kinds is to be found in Christ alone.
I. There is the fruit which God requires : as a Holy God, he requires spotless holiness; as a just God, he requires untiring obedience in thought, word, and deed ; and as a God of truth, he requires the strictest integrity and uprightness in every one that approaches him. Now justice and mercy have met together in the person of our Emmanuel, and he bears these fruits for us ; so that Jehovah finds the fruit we should bear, brought forth and matured in our covenant Head, and is satisfied. This is the true Vine which “cheereth God and man” (Judges, ix. 13); thus it is said, “In the Lord have I righteousness,” &c. (Isa. xlv. 24); and “Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who is, of God, made unto us wisdom, righteousness,” &c. &c. (1 Cor. i. 30).
II. There is the fruit which the believer wants to have for his soul to feed on ; he wants the fruits of pardon and peace, joy, consolation and comfort, called the fruits of the Spirit, because they are altogether spiritual, and produced by the agency of the Holy Ghost, who is given to us ; but these are from Christ. Have I pardon ? it is the fruit of his death. Have I peace? it is the fruit of his conflict. “He is our peace” (Eph. ii. 14). Have I joy? it is rejoicing in Him, in what he is, and in what he has done. Have I consolation ? it is through the testimony which the Holy Ghost gives concerning Jesus.
III. There is the fruit of consistency of conduct—which our brethren in the church, and the world at large, expect from us-whereby men may know that we belong to Christ, even as our Lord hath said, “By their fruits ye shall know them ;” and again, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John, xiii. 35). Again he says, “I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit” (John, xv. 16). This is the ornament of Christianity ; it is worth nothing as regards salvation, but worth much as an evidence, not to ourselves, but to others, of the reality of our Christian profession. This fruit also, is from Jesus, and he who lives upon Jesus as his fruit before God, and as the ground and source of his hope, pardon, peace, joy, and consolation, exhibits these fruits in his life and converse. Deadness to the world and its fashions, amusements, and allurements, liveliness in the ways of God, the Spirit
of Christ in meekness, compassion and brotherly love, and the adding of one virtue to another, proclaims a triumph over the old carnal self, and marks the homeward, heavenward bent of his soul; and whatever he may feel, he rejoices to acknowledge, with gratitude, this fact, from thee is my “fruit found :” thus the glory of his state, of his hopes, and of his doings, is all given to Christ; and in glorying he glories “in the Lord,” and in him alone. Astley, Dec. 29th, 1841.
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. MR. EDITOR,
The accompanying hymn of that fearless champion for truth, Luther, was lately found among the papers of a deceased relative; never having seen it in print, I send it, hoping you will favour a constant reader by placing it in the pages of your Magazine, trusting it may prove acceptable to your readers.
MARY. LUTHER'S HYMN. 'Tis not a hard, too high an aim,
Tho' his kind hand thou canst not feel, Secure thy part in Christ to claim ; The smart let lenient patience heal. The sensual instinct to control,
Or if corruption's strength prevail, And warm with purer fires the soul. And oft thy pilgrim footsteps fail; Nature will raise up all her strife,
Lift, for this grace, thy louder cries, Foe to the flesh-abasing life ;
So shalt thou cleansed and stronger rise. Loath in a Saviour's death to share, If haply still thy mental shade, Her daily cross compellid to bear.
Deep as the midnight gloom be made ; But grace omnipotent at length,
On the sure, faithful arm Divine, Shall arm the saint with saving strength; | Firm, let thy fast ning trust recline. Thro' the sharp war with aids attend, The gentlest Sire, the best of Friends, And his long conflict sweetly end.
To thee no harm or loss intends ; Act but the infant's gentle part,
Tho' toss'd on the most boist'rous main, Give up to love thy willing heart; No wreck thy vessel shall sustain. No fondest parent's melting breast Should there remain, of rescuing grace, Yearns like thy God's to make thee blest. No glimpse, nọ shadow, left to trace ; . Taught its dear mother soon to know, Hear thy Lord's voice ; 'tis Jesu's will, The simplest babe its love can show; “Believe, thou dark, lost, pilgrim, still.” Bid bashful, servile fear retire,
Then thy sad night of terrors past, The task no labour will require.
Tho' the dread season long may last; The Sovereign Father, good and kind, Sweet peace shall from the smiling skies, Wants but to have his child resigned; Like a new dawn before thee rise. He to thy soul no anguish brings,
Then shall thy faith's bright grounds From thine own stubborn will it springs; appear, That foe but crucify-thy bane
Its eyes shall view salvation clear ; Nought shalt thou know of frowns or pains. Be hence encourag'd more when tried, Shake from thy soul o'erwhelmed-de On the best Father to confide. press'd
O, my too blind, yet nobler part, The encumbering load that galls thy rest, Be mov’d, be won by these, my heart; That wastes her strength in bondage wane; See of how rich a lot, how blest, With courage, break the enslaving chain. The true believer stands possess'd. Let faith exert its conquering power, Come, backward soul, to God resign, Say in thy fearing, trembling hour, Peace, his best blessing, shall be thine ; " Father, thy pitying help impart;" | Boldly recumbent on his care, 'Tis done, a sigh can reach His heart. Cast thy felt burden only there. Yet, if more earnest plaints to raise, Awhile, his succours he delays;
Nov. 3rd. 1841.
SUBSTANCE OF AN ADDRESS Delivered by George Henry Godden, Minister of Corpus Christi Chapel, Stonehouse, at · the Farewell Meeting of the Rev. Joseph Cartwright, from his Church and Congrega
tion ; as held in the Town Hall, Devonport, on Monday Evening, January 31st, 1842,
where upwards of six hundred persons were present. Beloved in the Lord! Grace, mercy, and peace be with you from God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; for, believe me, however clearly you may know in theory the love and grace of the Father and the Son, nothing can prove your interest therein but the power of the eternal Spirit in thine heart; “ For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Therefore, “Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's head: that went down to the skirts of his garments; for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." Thus while, on the one hand, I look around on this numerous and respectable assembly, and see many whom I know love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity; my soul is filled with joy and peace in believing that He who hath so kindly brought on this occasion, will not send us empty away, but cause us to abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost: so also, on the other, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not; my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.” What for ? Even on account of a man of God, for whom I have the highest respect and esteem in the bonds of covenant love, being called upon by the Lord of hosts to leave this town of Devonport, and his church therein, over which he hath been placed now for some time. True it is—"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven!” Nevertheless it must be borne in mind, there is always a needs-be (or reason) for every event to take place either in creation, providence, grace, or glory; “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations." And hence in the instance before us, I trust, before sitting down, to be enabled to show plainly, wherefore the church of Mount Zion in this place, is to be deprived of her present minister, which to her will be a loss indeed!
There is something, in my view of the matter, both solemn and affecting in the church of Jesus taking leave of its minister, and the pastor of his charge:-I. Solemn, inasmuch as that the hand of the Lord is to be seen in the dispensation. II. Affecting on account of the feelings and infirmities of the people being called forth into the full exercise of sympathy! Wherefore, when that bold champion for a free-grace Gospel, took leave of the church at Ephesus," he sent for the elders,” and appealed unto them, with an “I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men, for I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God!” And then, after his discourse, together with “commending them to God (as your beloved pastor did last night from these words also); they all wept sore, fell on Paul's neck and kissed him; sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake; that they should see his face no more."
And it may be, in the instance of my dear and right-well beloved brother, we may never see him any more in the flesh! Well! what of that? “Even this, also, cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working.” For of this we are certain that, when absent from his body, he must be immediately present with the Lord, in the boundless realms of glory, where there shall be no more parting or farewells for ever. Twelve years however, in the arithmetic or reckoning of time, have now nearly run their course, since the Lord was graciously pleased to send this Barnabas, or son of consolation, unto the church in Mount Zion; and that “to the intent your hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Say then, when he first came among you, did ye not receive him as an angel of light? And shall we not take our leave of him, with all godly affection, in the same ministerial character ? Yes indeed! And how can this be done better than by contrasting both his person,